Santa Ana Streetcar Route to Be Chosen

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A large turnout of supporters and opponents is expected Tuesday when Santa Ana city council members decide which route a proposed streetcar will take through the city.

City staff is recommending the streetcar travel down Fourth Street, also known as Alternative 1. It’s a route that proponents say will bolster local business, but has also brought opposition from many Fourth Street shops.

Overall, both proposed routes would start at the Santa Ana train station and ultimately reach Garden Grove.

More than 200 local residents and business owners have signed a petition against the Fourth Street route, according to people involved in the signature gathering.

Among those listed in opposition are more than 70 local businesses, including restaurants, bridal shops, travel agencies, jewelry stores, beauty salons and mobile phone shops along the proposed Fourth Street route.

Concerns include the impact of construction on business, not being contacted as part of outreach efforts, as well as the potential removal of street parking on Fourth Street.

Many of the shop owners say they want the streetcar to run down Fifth Street instead.

Supporters of the route, meanwhile, say the Fourth Street route has an advantage because it features better architecture, historic buildings and more street activity than Fifth Street.

“At the end of the day the streetcar will be bringing a lot of people and attention to the area, and [Fourth Street] would be best to showcase the heart of the Downtown rather than a secondary street,” said downtown developer Ryan Chase.

“I think the project’s a no-brainer.”

City staff said they conducted an extensive outreach campaign that went above and beyond the legal requirements.

And Interim Public Works Director William Galvez has said the city can’t reply to the questions or concerns from public meetings until October or November because of the environmental review process.

The streetcar issue is scheduled toward the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, which starts sometime after 5:45 p.m. Click here to read the staff report.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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